How to Celebrate Mother’s Day Even When You’re Far Apart from Your Mom

A family speak to their grandmother on the iPad.
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This Mother’s Day, you probably won’t be flying across the country to visit your mom or going to the nursing home to spend quality time with Grandma.

COVID-19 restrictions have changed how we celebrate special occasions — at least for now — but that doesn’t mean Mother’s Day is cancelled. It also doesn’t mean we ought to spend more money to overcompensate for the fact that we can’t be together.

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The National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend an average of $205 on Mother’s Day this year. But if you’ve lost your job or are struggling to build up an emergency fund in case you do become unemployed, you shouldn’t feel pressured to spend more than you can afford.

There are plenty of ways to show Mom you care without spending a bunch of money. It truly is the thought that counts. 

Besides, she’d much rather have you spend $75 on groceries to keep yourself fed than on a flower arrangement that’ll start wilting after a few days.

Here are seven low-cost ways to celebrate Mother’s Day while social distancing.

1. Order a Meal for Delivery

Treat your mom to brunch or dinner, even when you can’t be together. Doors may be closed to the public, but many eateries have been doing business throughout the pandemic by offering takeout or delivery.

Check if one of your mom’s favorite restaurants accepts delivery orders, and purchase her favorite meal.

2. Drop Off Baked Goods

If you live close enough to your mother or grandmother, you could bake a batch of cookies or a casserole and drop it off at her doorstep. 

Choose a recipe with just a few ingredients — preferably ones you have at home — to cut down on costs.

3. Make a Homemade Card

Nix the store-bought cards — they seem to get pricier each year — and make one instead. If you’ve got some cardstock, markers and materials like thread, colored paper, watercolors or washi tape at home, you can create your own professional-looking Mother’s Day card.

The heartfelt sentiments you write inside are sure to rival any generic message you could find among the card aisle.

4. Have the Grandkids Do Something Special

If your kids can’t spend time with Grandma this year, have them send something that will make her smile.

Take a photo of the grandkids holding up signs that read “Happy Mother’s Day” or “We Love You” — or have them mail a hand-drawn picture of the family matriarch. If your kids are musically inclined, ask them to sing one of their grandmother’s favorite songs or learn to play it on an instrument and perform for her on FaceTime.

5. Watch Something Together

Since COVID-19 shutdowns, we’re all getting more creative about visiting places without leaving home and doing activities together while separated. 

You can celebrate Mother’s Day with your mom by taking a virtual tour of a national park or museum together. Or if your mother isn’t the exploring type, you can both stream the same movie at the same time or watch a Broadway show with a free trial of BroadwayHD.

6. Organize a Zoom Get Together With Your Siblings

The next-best thing to an in-person visit is a virtual visit via video chat. Find a time on May 10 when you and your siblings can all join in on a video call — whether it’s on Zoom, FaceTime, Google Duo, WhatsApp or another platform.

Spend time catching up and enjoying each other’s company. Maybe you can all make plans for a real get together once it’s safer to travel and congregate.

7. Create a Slideshow or Video for Your Mom

The purpose of Mother’s Day is to share your love and appreciation for the woman you call Mom.

Compile photos of you and your mom over the years and create a slideshow or record a video of yourself talking about what makes your mom so special. Sharing those types of gifts will warm your mother’s heart — even from hundreds of miles away.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.